Like people in many other American cities, low-income and working class DC residents – and, in particular, those from communities of color – are saddled with debt collection suits that can be devastating for their families’ futures. These civil legal disputes often have life-altering consequences: the loss of an indispensable driver’s license, the seizure or garnishment of a bank account, and the inability to secure employment due to a bad credit report. Such developments can set off a spiral that increases the risks of unemployment, homelessness and prison. Although there is well-established evidence that access to legal help in these cases makes a dramatic difference in the outcome, most residents facing legal problems arising from debt get no legal help whatsoever. At Tzedek DC, we are working to change that.